In this section you can submit questions to people that knew Elvis, or to other important people in the Elvis World.

Re: vic colonna

Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:50 pm

I've been away working Christmas overnights for the man so haven't visited FECC for a while..

but what a STUNNING thread to stumble across at 5am in the morning here in Oz.

Welcome VIC - great stories... THANKS so much.

And a Happy New Year to all who sail here.

Cheers
Piers

Re: vic colonna

Sun Dec 30, 2007 9:11 pm

viccolonna@gmail.com wrote:thanks for that, paul sweeney, i would have thought it would be much more. less than 700 bucks for a week's lodging is not bad at all. could not stay at a hotel for that. now all i need do is retrofit my rowboat, spend a few months at the gym building up my arms to the size they were when i was lugging around all those boxes of records every day, and i am off.

i just realized, paul is in tremendous shape and i can let him do the rowing while i navigate. i can't wait to tell him.


Anytime you want to go, just let me know. I'll be sure to warn them of your arrival so that the ladies on the beach put their tops back on... 8)

Re: vic colonna

Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:53 pm

glancing back at the first responses to this thread i see more than one question that i have not answered. i have not simply ignored the questions, it is just that most of them deal with those years we were making the records and those times will be chronicled in the upcoming book. so, it is not that i do not want to answer, and not that i have anything against giving you "snippets" from the book (because so much went on "behind the scenes" that you would never guess and therefore never think to ask about i would not be giving much away), it is that the book is a work in progress, will go through lots of editing and revising between now and june, and i want to get it right and not give an incomplete answer or state something as fact that turns out to be in need of correcting (date, place, a person, whatever) because i have a bunch of checking to do in certain areas. i am lucky, i am blessed with a good memory, but not an infallible one, and i will be asking about dates right here on this forum before long. i remember sitting up all night hand–addressing the envelopes and folding the flyers and licking the stamps and envelope flaps for the first mailing (to just over 700 of you). i remember vicki and her girlfriend genise helping out. i remember that 700 envelopes seemed like an awful lot and they were when you are, and i had been, like most people and never mailed more than three or four letters at a time except for christmas. and i never sent out 700 christmas cards. so i am not stalling, not ignoring, i just want to get it right. but i don't remember the exact date those first flyers for the dorsey shows lp went out, so if anyone knows kindly get back to me with that information.

that said: about that "i beg of you" outtake. if you think that for one second i would have rented a $3000 tape recorder, the little kind that spies use, and gone to radio recorders wearing a coat and tie and the tie clip was actually a microphone…

or if you think that i visited the RCA offices and the book that i had with me was hollowed out and contained an fm transmitter that broadcast every word that joan deary said and what she played for me to a van parked down on the street full of sophisticated recording equipment…

why, just what kind of person do you think i am? or was?

hey, that kind of behavior would have been downright criminal?

what?

i do have an excuse. a very good one. i'm an elvis fan.

next question.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:06 am

thank you paul sweeney. i realize you are looking out for my best interests, took into account that i am getting on in years, and do not want me to have a heart attack before the book is finished. i appreciate your concern.

i want you to know that i am a reformed man. i am no longer a slave to my wandering ways. that wayward wind that once propelled me into uncharted waters is now but a soft summer breeze.

please, tell the girls not to go to any additional trouble for me. just because i am on a diet doesn't mean i can't look at the menu.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:11 am

viccolonna@gmail.com wrote:thank you paul sweeney. i realize you are looking out for my best interests, took into account that i am getting on in years, and do not want me to have a heart attack before the book is finished. i appreciate your concern.

i want you to know that i am a reformed man. i am no longer a slave to my wandering ways. that wayward wind that once propelled me into uncharted waters is now but a soft summer breeze.

please, tell the girls not to go to any additional trouble for me. just because i am on a diet doesn't mean i can't look at the menu.


Well, ok then, just for you the tops will remain off, that way you can still look at the menu :shock:

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:55 am

Vic
You are a damned criminal after all, aren't you! I had forgotten some of those things. I now am looking forward to the book! Save me a copy, ok.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:02 am

wwelvis wrote:Hey Vic!

Phew! Another normal day in the life of a former (????) bootlegger! Got a hot date tonight so i want to workout a little before!

Woke up at 7AM. Ran 12 miles. Had a huge protein shake. Then right off to the gym for 2 hours. (Oh, I finally got that 650 pound bench press I've been working on for a few months!). Then home for lunch. On the beach at 1PM. Rowed around the Gulf til about 4, then headed immediately to Tony's kickboxing gym where I sparred 15 rounds. Got home around 5:30. Still hadn't been able to work up a good sweat so I ran 7 miles and am now ready for dinner! Gotta leave soon to pick up Vickie!! It's going to be a long night but I think I'm ready.

So don't worry old buddy! I row - you navigate!!!


So i take it that was just a 'light workout' day then Paul?? :wink:

Seems abit of a touchy subject with you but the name Ace Anderson rings a bell with me. i met Ace Anderson in Aug, '87 and bought some bootlegs off him.I was only 19 back then and i guess i looked up to him abit.I do remember he was always abit drunk.
He claimed he was DJ Fontanas Manager at the time.
I do remember Neal Matthews coming in and the two of them seem to be friends.
My friend and i chatted with Neal wanting his autograph but all Neal was interested in was for us to buy his songwriting book.I felt bad i never got that book but i did get his autograph!! :lol:

A brilliant thread and one of the best of the year.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:33 am

Hi Bodie

Arse Anderson was (is) a very stupid con man who THOUGHT he was the best talker in the world but most everyone saw through him. He always wanted to feel IMPORTANT so he'd make up all kinds of things like he and Elvis were best friends (he never met Elvis!); he was DJ's manager; worked with Roy Orbison; etc etc. The stories are endless.

The true story is that I felt sorry for him (well, maybe more so for his wife and poor kids whom he treated like slaves - literally!) and unfortunately I let him have keys to where I kept the LP's Vic and I did. When it seemed that the supply was always getting low or actually lower than it should be, I started suspecting that my "good friend Arse" was stealing from me and selling them wholesale to anyone at unbelievably cheap prices. Of course I finally proved this to be true and told him to get lost and of course that didn't go over that well with this crook so he decided to turn on us and went to the FBI and told them the most outlandish, made up, absurd stories that even they didn't believe but that didn't matter as they had someone (Arse) who was "supposedly" an inside man in the bootlegging operation. This was completely untrue. He had absolutely nothing to do with Vic and me running the business. All he did was to act like he was a friend and help me take packages to the post office sometimes (by the way, in a van I bought him!) but his main thing was to act like Mr Bigshot because he desperately wanted to be someone.

Anyway, I don't want to waste time talking about this waste of a human being! All I will say is to avoid dealing with him at all costs. Luckily, most of you who read this have no idea who he is and how to get in touch with him but if anyone does...stay clear. He is 100% untrustworthy.

Glad everyone likes these posts. More to come.

Your turn Vic!

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 4:47 am

PiersEIN wrote:I've been away working Christmas overnights for the man so haven't visited FECC for a while..



Piers,

I never knew you were an Elf,how is Santa anyway?




:wink:

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 9:23 pm

Like No Other

December 31, 2007. Wait, that can’t be right. Why that would mean I’m… Fooey. Okay, I got the date right. What do I want to tell you about? Oh yes, the routine I have adhered to for a number of years now: I spend the last day of the year listening to Elvis albums. When I was a kid the rundown of the year’s 100 top songs was a big deal. Wow, there sure were a bunch of Elvis songs on that list in 1956 and 1957. So the years went by, the top 100 did not mean as much, but I kept up with the music. I switched from buying 45s to buying LPs and by my mid–20s I had to get one of those display racks you see in stores that held 500 albums because there was not enough shelf space. Well, there was enough shelf space but it was taken up by unnecessary items such as food, clothes, books, and the like. The years whooshed by, I stayed current, and then you could not trust me any longer—I turned 30. The vast majority of people stop buying records around that age, stop paying attention to the new artists, stop following the latest trends. Simple reason: raising a family, advancing a career, home ownership and all the time that demands, and the rest of the usual suspects simply eats up all that time that was once devoted to listening to new bands. So we settle comfortably into a rut, rut around, and pop culture begins to pass us by. We know of the big changes of the day through our children but they no longer make sense. We have become something we swore we would never become. We have morphed into creatures that are all too familiar: we are (shudder) our parents. We refuse to admit it; we staunchly deny it. We don’t just take umbrage when it is suggested that such a change has occurred, we unlock the gun cabinet.
Not me. That would never happen to me. No siree. And Patrick was born, and all those things that happen to everyone else happened to me. But one thing was different. I got involved with this (don’t tell anyone) business of making bootlegs. The years from 1975–1980 found me totally immersed in Elvis. Raising children (Lisa joined us in 1977) was the most wonderful experience imaginable and that demanded 25 hours a day; plus the 24 hours a day spent on finding unreleased Elvis material and transforming it into a chunk of vinyl that others could enjoy and there just were not any hours left for keeping current with the latest arrivals on the music scene.
In 1981 the Elvis operation got mothballed, Vicki thought I was, well, something, and she acted like a Young American (she took my life, she took my babies), and I, after a few months of moping, bought a record store. It took about six or seven months to catch up on what I had missed in the last six or seven years and since then I have defied the trend and kept up with the ch–ch–ch–ch–changes (that’s two thank yous to David Bowie) and branched out into listening to music from all over the world.
But one thing never changed: my favorite remained Elvis. Eclectic taste yes; I am as likely to play Ella Fitzgerald as Nirvana when I reach for an album (now it is a selection on the iPod) but lurking there, waiting to pounce, ready to sweep aside all the pretenders to the throne, is Mr. Presley. As I said before, there is something about that voice.
Another New Year’s Eve approaches. I will likely be asleep when the revelers surrounding Times Square erupt. I am in my twelfth childhood; I still kick up my heels, but it has somehow gotten more difficult to land on my feet when I come down. So I pick myself up, lay myself down, and think about all the good times I have enjoyed and make plans for the next fifty years.
This morning I walked over to the store, stopped at the bank, and ambled back to Lisa’s where I am frolicking with my grandchildren Kaitlyn (13) and Colin (5) and driving my daughter bonkers. But, for some unknown reason she loves me and puts up with this aberrant behavior. I even took off my headphones and placed them over Kaitlyn’s ears for a moment and said, “This guy may not be your cup of tea but try and tell me he doesn’t have a terrific voice.” She humored me. I love that kid.
Today’s first selection was the Aloha album. Not only did I listen to it, I had the luxury of being able to sing along (trust me, that is something you never want to hear) because I was outside and in a neighborhood where no one knows me. I could see and feel the windows and doors shutting, mothers swooping their children into their arms and scurrying inside, fathers giving me those “don’t come any closer” looks, and on I walked, unable to carry a tune but screeching every word at the top of my lungs.
As I listened, I thought to myself, “This boy not only sings other people’s songs, he makes them his own.” Now, I have had that thought many times before; today, with this album, I found myself reminiscing. I thought back to the first time I heard those songs and how much I loved them by the original artists. Or, I thought back to the time those songs were popular and how lackluster they sounded when compared to hearing Elvis sing them. Chuck Willis, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Peggy Lee were sensational. Their versions of the songs are part of rock/pop history. Then Elvis sings these songs and I’ll be darned if, no matter how objective I try to be, I just can’t help but feel that he does a better job. Well, not a better job, but I like his versions better. It’s the voice. That is the only answer. That incredible voice. I have heard some great voices, and one of the best I ever heard was a guy named Mario Lanza. Listen to the song “Drink, Drink, Drink” from “The Student Prince” and you will hear one of the most powerful voices of all time. He simply drowns out an 80–piece boy’s choir when he hits it hard. We know what happens when Elvis hits it hard: we go nuts. Why? Wazzupwiddat? I dunno, but that’s what happens. Now I turn my attention to what he does to the songs of Three Dog Night, The Beatles, James Taylor, Frank Sinatra, and Ray Charles. Giant hits, again part of history, but while the aforementioned were songs that had “snap”, “gusto”, or those little round things that bounce, the songs from this group were wimpy and lame until Elvis did them. “Something” and “Steamroller Blues” came alive when Elvis decided to make them part of this repertoire. That dumb little ditty, “Never Been to Spain” (and I love “Eli’s Coming” and “Mama Told Me Not to Come” by the same guys) somehow acquired a life of its own when Elvis sang it. How did he do that? What the heck is so special about Elvis? It’s the voice. He may have wiggled and wriggled and some people giggled back in the beginning, but without that voice he would have been just another forgotten fad.
Enough, I have rambled too long. Time to pick out another album and sit back (silently this time, I’m back at Lisa’s now) and enjoy. I think “King Creole” will be next. I’ll see you in New Orleans at the Golden Goose; I’ll be the one sitting next to that green–eyed dolly. In my dreams. While I dream, you all have one terrific New Year and we will do this some more in 2008.

Re: vic colonna

Mon Dec 31, 2007 10:19 pm

Looking forward to more of your stories in 2008 Vic!

Have a happy and healthy New Year!

Re: vic colonna

Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:21 pm

Hope your 2008 is simply great
And when it all comes down to fate
Truly, surely, you will find
'Tis not a wasted march through time

There is, you see, a master plan
Put in place when the world began
That there shall be a chosen few
The Elvis fans like you and you

Mark my words, i do not lie
This info's from the Man in the sky
Even those who kick and scream
Know you’re the leaders of this world's team

So before i slink into the night
To vanquish varlets and fight the good fight
I want you to know, I just want to say
Knowing you brightens each and every day

Re: vic colonna

Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:39 am

viccolonna@gmail.com wrote:Hope your 2008 is simply great
And when it all comes down to fate
Truly, surely, you will find
'Tis not a wasted march through time

There is, you see, a master plan
Put in place when the world began
That there shall be a chosen few
The Elvis fans like you and you

Mark my words, i do not lie
This info's from the Man in the sky
Even those who kick and scream
Know you’re the leaders of this world's team

So before i slink into the night
To vanquish varlets and fight the good fight
I want you to know, I just want to say
Knowing you brightens each and every day


Brilliant!

Re: vic colonna

Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:24 am

Vic, with a glass of 21 yr old Bushmills (no ice or water or t'would be a sin) allow me to anoint you
FECC Seanchaí!

This thread needs to be read in the presence of a turf fire while a Donegal storm lashes the windows in the background. The pure art of storytelling with dry asides between friends and gentle introductions to the latecomer punctuating the dominating, and often lyrical, voice of the story teller.

I've been in the old country for a week of recuperation with the family and just got back to this thread - treasure it all for it is truly art. And Vic if ever you make it to Patrick's Isle I'll find a bar for you and arrange a lock in (don't worry about the feds, Sergeant Murphy sees nothing from behind his pint) - blessings of the New Year to you and yours!

Re: vic colonna

Thu Jan 03, 2008 7:26 am

My sainted mother was Irish and my father English so the islands really got a hold on me. 'Twere it not for me leprechaun, me boyos, surely this old sod would have been reduced to sod long ago. Bless the Emerald Isle, a shower of shamrocks to all those with the gift of blarney, and I hope to search for a Wild Irish Rose on her home turf before they play "Taps".

Re: vic colonna

Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:48 pm

viccolonna@gmail.com wrote:"....glancing back at the first responses to this thread i see more than one question that i have not answered.

i have not simply ignored the questions, it is just that most of them deal with those years we were making the records and those times will be chronicled in the upcoming book.

so, it is not that i do not want to answer, and not that i have anything against giving you "snippets" from the book (because so much went on "behind the scenes" that you would never guess and therefore never think to ask about i would not be giving much away), it is that the book is a work in progress, will go through lots of editing and revising between now and june, and i want to get it right and not give an incomplete answer or state something as fact that turns out to be in need of correcting (date, place, a person, whatever) because i have a bunch of checking to do in certain areas.

i am lucky, i am blessed with a good memory, but not an infallible one, and i will be asking about dates right here on this forum before long. i remember sitting up all night hand–addressing the envelopes and folding the flyers and licking the stamps and envelope flaps for the first mailing (to just over 700 of you)....

emphasis and spacing added..


Hello again, Vic,

Your book proposal is very welcome, as you can see from the comments here and would be terrific contribution to music history, most of all for Elvis fans.

******************************************************

Image

I'm told that the book above by Clinton Heylin (from 1996, revised in 2004) also has a chapter or some material on your story and so it could be used as a framework or as way to refute any errors or mispresentations but it will probably merit mention. This is on my "to-read" list for 2008.

I think you might want a collaborator / editor as you indicate and there are a number here who might volunteer (Likethebike, Peter Franks, Rockin' Rebel, Piers, etc. ) and any number of people.

I think having someone to help frame and bridge the context of being a (the) original Elvis bootlegger with Elvis' career at the time, how RCA operated (and what they released in comparison!) , the industry in general and then what came later in the '80s and '90s would be crucial. As it is, your story surely paved the way for a notable or two who followed in your footsteps and graced up with things that RCA held close to their breast until the release of "Burbank 68" on their new specialty label, FTD...In my view, your anecdotes will be the heart of the book but they should "hang" on the structure or chassis of an arc of how things were evolving with RCA, Elvis, and the industry and thus will be the "dessert" we truly wait for.

Being that so many of us are discographic Elvis nerds, any book would benefit from notations such as "record X" later was issued in full in 1994 on CD and then again in 2001 with another hour of material,etc." or "RCA /BMG later issued this in 1999."

This will lessen some of that "Rip Van Winkle" aspects of the book and open it up to more readers and newer fans of the CD era.

Best wishes and Happy New Year,

Greg N.

Re: vic colonna

Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:13 am

thank gregory nolan,

just read that quickly, will reread, and definitely some good thoughts. approaches you suggest will be taken to heart. i have no problem with submitting to you, and any number of others you suggest, the "book" as it unfolds and you critiquing and suggesting. i need all the help i can get.

probably better to get help from those who are passionately interested in this project than my own idea of passionate writing which consisted mainly of getting some pretty young thing to sit on my lap and take dictation.

shucks, you just took some of the fun out of it but it will make for a better book.

email me viccolonna@gmail.com and i will send you a bit of what i have scribbled thus far

Re: vic colonna

Fri Jan 04, 2008 1:04 pm

Stuck in the Middle with Elvis

This is for the folks out there who enjoy my reminiscing; a pox on thee for reminding me I have so many years to think back on, but I love ya just the same. Let me think back on the years after high school; I’ll do my best to recall just how Elvis continued to make his mark on me. So, just what was going on in that big ol’ world out there and just what was happening in my little corner of it to make the name Elvis Presley be a part of my march through time?
I graduated in 1961; Elvis was once again a chart favorite. Things had calmed down, of course; rock and roll had survived its initial test and was undeniably here to stay. So was Mr. Presley. That initial, unprecedented string of hits, the four movies, the two–year absence that made hearts grow fonder and whet appetites; that was part of history. The album said Elvis was back and they just weren’t a–whistlin’ “Dixie”. A giant up–tempo hit backed with a ballad that showcased a matured voice with a power and dimension we had not experienced before, another movie, a TV special, and then a mid–tempo twist on an opera song (with a throwback flip side—it was surely no disgrace as he hiccupped his way through that mess of blues and took us back a few years)—that was what preceded my final few months at Conard High School. One other thing—although tucked away in his Graceland redoubt, Elvis left no doubt about whether or not he still had the right stuff; he was made of it. The boy king had become a man; not just in years but also in deed—he had served his country honorably and earned respect for more than his talent. No surprise to the faithful; the added bonus of knowing his detractors were having crow for breakfast, lunch, and dinner just made a good thing better.
I had, by now, amassed quite a collection of 45s. Nearly two thousand of them and almost all were what we call doo–wop today. I don’t remember using that term then; we always called it “group stuff”. My Elvis collection had grown; I had more EPs and a bunch of 45s came out without picture covers (and what was up with that I wondered?). I did not buy the albums; even though they were Elvis albums I stuck with 45s and RCA made everything available in that format so why bother? The 45s took up shelf after shelf in my closet; the LPs sat on the floor, a lonely little bunch of outcasts that I picked up now and then to hear a favorite only found there (Bobby Darin joined Elvis, the rest were compilations).
So here comes 1961 and here comes “Surrender”, the follow–up to that anomalous hit that got played and played and played and instead of getting sick of hearing it, which is always the case with pop songs that get played to death, that one continued to entrance. Heard it, surrendered, bought it, and probably within a day of hearing it for the first time. I have no idea how well Elvis’ new releases sold in the first day, week, or month; someone must have kept track but that was “insider” info and all we paid attention to was the Top 40. I do remember that the record shop nearby always had a big stack of the new Elvis single, bigger than any other, and that pile shrunk to nothing in just a few days. I distinctly recall being disappointed—the song lasted a mere minute and fifty–one seconds (I didn’t look it up, that’s what I remember, and if I’m off a bit don’t correct me) and I wanted it to be longer, much longer. What to do? Simple. Play it again and again and again. It was a fitting rejoinder to the megahit that was slowly drifting down the charts; that “different” voice that sounded purer than ever before but was unmistakably, definitively Elvis. I smiled; Smokey was shoppin’ around, Dylan was causing a stir in The Village, Joan Baez and The Kingston Trio revived an American art form, and Elvis was a world unto himself. The pretenders to the throne had all dropped by the wayside; the music had “grown up” and we were on the threshold of significant change, but Elvis just kept being Elvis and nothing else came close. All this great music was assailing my ears; I even sampled jazz for a month or two (everyone else was) and rejected it quickly because I liked vocals and Dave Brubeck became pure monotony in a heartbeat. Motown, more great group sounds; new artists, quite talented, fought for airtime and then there was Elvis. The Four Seasons unleashed a string of hits, girl groups came in a cluster, and a new Elvis song came out and everything new that I was buying and playing and loving paled in comparison. The odd thing about “Surrender” in addition to the length, or lack of, was that it was a “33 single” and before I knew it here came another EP and it was also a 33 and just what was going on here? That experiment failed, thankfully, and it was just before I graduated when I heard a song that I thought was Elvis, it had to be Elvis, but I just wasn’t sure. “I Feel So Bad” has always sounded atypical and years later when it came on an “oldies” station I would ask the person in my car, “Who’s that singing?” and they were always surprised when I told them it was Elvis. By the way, I thought “Wild in the Country” was wimpy and lame and it was the first one since “Love Me Tender” that I did not immediately like.
So I graduate high school, 512th in a class of 511, and here comes summer. Baseball, beaches, and bikinis—and sometimes I was doubly blessed. So there I am, in my own little bit of paradise by the dashboard light and, this I swear, on comes a new song and I’m actually wondering what it would be like to go out with my girlfriend’s sister, just a year younger. Okay, Elvis, you’ve got another hit but leave me alone, willya? I’m trying to accomplish something here.
And that takes us up to the fall of 1961 and, as an announcer on an old–time radio show once said, “Kindly stay tuned.”

Re: vic colonna

Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:01 pm

Vic, your stories of years past are magnificent and well apppreciated, thanks again!

Re: vic colonna

Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:40 pm

Hi,..Vic...

thank you so much,...we want...more..more....more..!!

Re: vic colonna

Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:19 pm

…All That We Do Here Is March

Autumn 1961. Off to college, and because a few friends had applied at the same school, I did also. The new Elvis movie was “Blue Hawaii” and I saw it in the theaters, but not then. We’ll get to where and when and I guarantee you that you will never guess; for now it is fall, my grades are falling like leaves, my feet are sore, and I am in military school—Norwich University. That lasted one semester. Dion was running around after Sue, The Marvelettes were pestering the postman, one group had their first single (“Bermuda”) flop but they came back with ‘Sherry” the next year and that train kept a’ rollin’ for a while, and one of the few rockers that doubled your fun was back with another two–sided hit. Marie was her name, and she competed with a younger sibling for the fans’ attention and affection. For me it was a tie; I wanted to jump up and dance when “Little Sister” came on but “His Latest Flame” had depth and masculinity to go with a forlornness that Elvis imparted to songs of this ilk. There’s that “feeling” that he put into songs; sometimes it was blatant and made the hair stand up on the back of your neck and others times it was subtle, but either way it was sublime. Then there was the great guitar work on both. Wow. Sure, Elvis had the best studio musicians of the day, the Jordanaires (1) were without peer, and the technicians were rock solid. But this was special; as good as that piano from “A Big Hunk O’ Love” and that was mighty good.

The year closed out with the song that future concertgoers would hate to hear simply because the next thing they would hear was, “Elvis, has left the building…” and it was nice, better than good and that voice enthralled, but I wanted fast stuff and the flip side was a trifle sappy (welcome to the wonderful world of movie fillers). Let me sum up 1960 and 1961 this way: Elvis Presley who, after two years of just plain owning the charts had spent two years in exile and even though a clever publicity machine worked long and hard he could well have joined the many who fell out of the limelight as the ‘50s drew to a close. Instead, he came back with a flourish, revealed that he had even more to offer than previously showcased, and he didn’t just regain his former position, he jumped back to the top quicker than Superman could leap a tall building. Whaddya know, the kid had staying power.

With all that success in 1960 and 1961 one would think that Elvis would have one tough act to follow. Hello 1962 and I get my wish: a song with a good beat and a few uh–huhs to boot (and I’ll boot them, just give me time). “Good Luck Charm” started the year in fine fettle but that one got replaced on the charts three months later with something even better, “Follow That Dream”. That was the way things were done back then: a new single every three months, two or three albums a year and not just Elvis, this was the industry norm. One thing that was not the norm then but is now is to take the singles from an album. See if you agree with me: had singles been pulled from albums back then, “Pot Luck” would have been the first album in history to produce six top–selling singles from the twelve songs. Pair them up any way you like; there are six hits on that album, six songs that would have made the top forty for sure and two or three that had top ten potential. They didn’t do it that way then but try and convince me I’m wrong. With a strong premise and some sound syllogism you just might do it around the time Hades starts exporting icebergs.

Skip to the fall of 1962. Spring and summer were fun; Elvis gave us another twofer—sensational, but that was the norm—then another EP, this time a six–pack, “Kid Galahad”. Back to college again, one more go at the old college try. Dean Jr. College, not a spit–shined boot to be found, and I settled down and got some good grades. I also spent hour upon hour driving my roommate nuts. He liked the Big Bands (what a jerk) from the ‘40s; there were a few like that and all we can do is hope they never had children. I spent many an hour in Karl Artz’ room (how the heck did I ever remember that name?) because he had a STEREO SYSTEM. Yes, folks, a turntable, amplifier, preamplifier, and speakers and I didn’t even know that stuff existed. Yeah, Lew Stevens’ family got a stereo in 1959, but that was two speakers instead of one and the record player looked just slightly fancier than most. This was the real deal and I never knew music could sound this good. Now, for all you spoiled chillun out there (spoiled only because you don’t know how primitive equipment once was), it just so happens that “car music” always sounded better than the records we played at home and at parties. This was true simply because most of us had little portable 45 record players and we used sapphire needles (a couple bucks), not diamond needles (twice as much), the tone arms weighed just a tad less than a hockey puck, and the built–in speakers were not nearly as good as the one on your Game Boy. When the needle needed replacing (somewhere during the middle of the fourth play), and you knew that because it started to skip, I just put a nickel on the end of the tone arm. Good to go for another month, and that the record was getting destroyed with each play went unnoticed—I could still hear the song.

So I am spending all this time in Karl’s room when I should be studying; I brought a slew of records with me to Franklin MA that fall and made a quarter or two with them to boot (there’s that word again). How? I knew my records; I played them incessantly. I would bet that I could name the song, artist, and label in three notes. Put the needle down, “Had a dream…”, see how easy that is. Looked difficult, I suppose, when you saw a big pile of 45s, but it was child’s play to me. Oh yeah, I didn’t simply limit the bet to my records; I would do it with yours also. Since you were highly unlikely to have bought any 45s that hadn’t charted, and since I knew the charts as well as I knew batting averages (that was my other love, baseball, and I read the back of every baseball card from when I was five to when I was twelve), you didn’t stand a chance. I gave ten to one odds, the bet was a nickel, I probably missed one every couple hundred.(2) Even though I disdained instrumentals (I never even cared for Duane Eddy), I still had heard the beginning so many times before I changed stations that I knew them also.

Shortly after the semester began I was at Woolworth’s and what do I see but a new Elvis 45. Bought it, took it back to the dorm, and on the way I thought to myself, “Why haven’t I heard this yet?” Must have been because 1) I was spending so much time listening to Karl’s stereo I wasn’t listening to the radio; 2) I didn’t have a portable radio and wasn’t riding around in cars much; 3) it wasn’t on the jukebox in the Student Union yet; 4) my roommate never tuned in anything but stations that did not play rock ‘n’ roll and he owned the radio.

Da–duhnt–da–duhnt–da–da! Criminy, was this ever a good song. Postman’s revenge for all those times the Marvelettes drove him nuts. That the flip side was too tame for my taste mattered little; “Return to Sender” was (still is) just one more example of how Elvis could make everything else that was popular at the time seem secondary. Guess what showed up on the jukebox the next day? Ahh, thank you Mr. Wurlitzer, a wonderful invention, indeed, and it sure did play loud! Those poor girls behind the food counter fought a losing battle telling us to turn down the volume; when one person acquiesced it was never more than a minute before another (usually me, what a surprise) just reached around the back of the machine, put their fingernail in the slot, and twisted—and let me tell you, you sure could pump up the volume on that sucker. Karl’s stereo could probably play that loud, but we couldn’t test it in the dorm; plus, this was a big room and that just made it sound better. Three songs got played so much that they had to replace the record because we simply wore it out (three song for a quarter, what a deal): the other two were “Hey, Paula” and “Louie, Louie” (yes, we figured out the words and yes, they’re dirty, and no, Dave Marsh didn’t get it exactly right). The words to “Louie, Louie” were raunchy. For all the disbelievers we printed them out, plopped the paper in front of their nose, and by the third careful listen they were converts. Sweet memories of youth.

Time to put a wrap on 1962, and what better way to do it than with a new Elvis movie? This one was # 11. Oh yeah, they had those unnecessary titles, didn’t they? The title of this one was what I spent most of my time thinking about; come to think of it, some things never change. Here comes that familiar refrain: Kindly stay tuned.

(1) Many know the story of how Ricky Nelson decided to join the fray and become a rock ‘n’ roll artist. True? Maybe. How many know that his backup group, The Imperials, was the Jordanaires under a different name?
(2) Years later, a variation: riding in my car I would make the bet based on what the oldies station was playing. Song and artist, ten to one odds, fifty cents a song. Easy way for you to make five bucks. When I missed I always said, “Came out in 1966.” The playlist on Armed Forces Radio was limited and they didn’t sell 45s in Vietnamese villages.

Re: vic colonna

Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:42 pm

Fantastic Vic .. now I'm off to listen to Elvis is Back :wink:

Re: vic colonna

Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:07 pm

Vic - amazing storys, very entertaining &
you can certainly string a sentance together though your clearly, as we say in The great britain " a bit of a nutter" ! 8)
i mean that as a compliment of course !!!! :lol:

great to hear the live reviews too -
70 & 71 would be close to my dream dates !
Lucky man !

The phenomenon of ELVIS is a strange thing indeed & he really was a one of a kind hey - its clear there will never be another to even come close ! I think the Voice is a huge part of it but its beyond that, its the soul of him i guess!

its amazing what u did and i cant wait to get your book when it makes it to publication, that should be a very very good read !

i never owned any of your titles, though i am very familiar with them but in fact i never owned any vinyl boots at all , having entered into the world of boots with Fort baxters
'Just pretend' & 'If u talk ' Cd's that seemed to appear out of no where but what a intro to this crazy world, so i can understand how it would have been 'back in the day ' ...

i have a few Q's for you if u can spare a minute

did u associate with Sean Shaver ? and if so, have u heard any of his suppossed 'perfect' recordings from his negra tape recorder that he says he recorded all the shows <he attended> thru-out the 70's ????
There would be some very good stuff here surely - why has none of it ever surfaced?

also - same Q would apply to the 8mm footage he says he filmed from hidden handbags ????

im curious as to how easy it was to obtain, not the recordings (though that too) but the actual shots u used for the covers, specifically the ed bonja shots etc but i understand if u want to save this stuff for the book !

thanks again & welcome - its an honour !

Re: vic colonna

Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:33 pm

DID U ASSOCIATE WITH SEAN SHAVER ? AND IF SO, HAVE U HEARD ANY OF HIS SUPPOSSED 'PERFECT' RECORDINGS FROM HIS NEGRA TAPE RECORDER THAT HE SAYS HE RECORDED ALL THE SHOWS <HE ATTENDED> THRU-OUT THE 70'S

I met Sean Shaver once but had heard of and about him quite a bit. He was, just ask him, a legend in the Elvis world. Legendary status can be obtained in two ways: 1) you do something that mere mortals cannot do and the world places you on a pedestal; 2) you tell everyone you meet you are a legend, buy a loud horn to toot, and before long people will agree you are a legendary pain in the butt.

Anyone can point a camera and click. Not anyone can take stunning photographs. I hear Sean took more pix per show than there were girls in the audience who screamed. Here comes probability: if I point and shoot and have a camera that fires three times a second one of them will be good unless I forgot to remove the lens cover.

Give credit where credit is due: Sean was preparing to put out a book of his photos titled, "I Shot Elvis"

WONDERFUL TITLE. WITTY. ORIGINAL (unless, and I never checked, someone else had put out a photo book titled, "I Shot …" and please don't tell me if they did because I want to think he thought it up all by himself. You see, my mother taught me to be kind to obnoxious bores and I come not to bury Sean but to praise him.

Time to heap on the panegyrics and encomiums and maybe a laudation or two: I like pretty things for the most part but I have drawn the line at pretty boys. They don't get any prettier than Sean. That hairdo!! His hairdresser must have gone to graduate school. Not a lock out of place. The fact that a noted singer sported the same coiffure did not dissuade Sean one iota. He was an original. Just ask him. And that jumpsuit!! Where did he ever come up with that idea? What a concept. And the sunglasses. You sure need those indoors. Yes, I remember Sean. I just looked up absurd in the dictionary and found his picture.

Sean had a Nagra and recorded concerts? What a guy. Multi-talented. And he has kept them hidden from the world? Sean, who would do anything to attract attention to himself has not verified the rumor by playing these tapes everywhere he goes? Sean was able to obtain top–quality tapes by letting a little tape player with a '70s technology microphone do the deed? From the audience? Paul and I had dozens, maybe hundreds of audience tapes sent to us to listen to and determine if they were good enough quality to be used to make a bootleg. We picked one. Thanks, John Herman. John got lucky and got a tape of a concert that was borderline quality and we enhanced it just enough to make it listenable. I held my breath when we put out that album and hoped we wouldn't get complaints. That recording was an anomaly (gee, come to think of it, Sean and that tape have something in common) and the performance just happened to be twice as long as most and had a number of songs not released live up to that point. Go figure. You folks loved it, it was our best seller, but we did not put out more records like that because the quality of audience tapes, in a word, sucked.

There are fans and there are fans. Some are a bit over the top. But even they manage to live a life outside of their hobby. Then there are the “chosen few”, chosen by themselves to let the world know of the greatness of Elvis Presley and were it not for them poor Elvis would have been quickly forgotten and we would not be having this discussion. Thank goodness there are those such as Sean, who, by wearing clothes that only Elvis could wear and not look ridiculous, by styling themselves to look as much like Elvis as they possibly could (and no fair going to a plastic surgeon) so that maybe someone with lousy eyesight might mistake them for Elvis Presley from a distance and would that ever make their day, and by attending every concert Elvis gave (must have had rich parents or one heck of a trust fund) quickly established themselves as the type of people that the National Enquirer loved to interview. Hey, if they got lucky they just might make the front page of Weekly World News. What? That last paper isn’t around any longer? And Sean still is? Who ever said life is fair?

ALSO - SAME Q WOULD APPLY TO THE 8MM FOOTAGE HE SAYS HE FILMED FROM HIDDEN HANDBAGS ????

Sean’s handbags, I remember them well. Gucci, Coach, Louis Vuitton, he sure had a collection. Why he never color–coordinated them with his jumpsuits is a mystery. 8mm footage, that brings back some memories. There was a local fan club that gathered every week to sit and watch SILENT 8mm footage taken from the audience. They played records and sat there enthralled as a tiny figure, presumably Elvis, usually overexposed or underexposed, moved around with something that must have been a microphone but who could tell. Blurry, lousy color, but Elvis fans are Elvis fans and this was all they could get and many enjoyed it. I went once but I was spoiled by films and tapes we had obtained and never went back. As for Sean, I have no doubt that his footage was superior, if only because Sean is a superior being. He probably had the generation after the next generation camera on loan from the CIA. So, sure, Sean has footage better than we can imagine and I look forward to “That’s the Way It Is, The Sean Shaver Cut” being released on DVD sometime soon.

Sean, if you read this, you’re a nice guy and I hope you don’t mind my having a little fun at your expense.

IM CURIOUS AS TO HOW EASY IT WAS TO OBTAIN, NOT THE RECORDINGS (THOUGH THAT TOO) BUT THE ACTUAL SHOTS U USED FOR THE COVERS, SPECIFICALLY THE ED BONJA SHOTS ETC BUT I UNDERSTAND IF U WANT TO SAVE THIS STUFF FOR THE BOOK !

Paul gets credit for the photos and covers. All I did was burglarize a few homes and steal tapes. Yes, it will all be in the book.

THANKS AGAIN & WELCOME - ITS AN HONOUR !

The pleasure is all mine. Thanks for your interest.

Re: vic colonna

Sun Jan 06, 2008 11:07 pm

though you're clearly, as we say in The great britain " a bit of a nutter"

SINCE RUTH GLEDHILL, TIMES RELIGIOUS CORRESPONDENT, SAID THE SAME OF RICHARD DAWSON YOU HAVE PLACED ME IN SELECT COMPANY.